Today I like: Not having to get up at 6am
Not so much: Dragging my 9yo to “Kids’ Town” at the gym…it’s like, soooo lame there.
This morning I entered my older daughter’s bedroom to wake both girls. E and H, 9 and 7, respectively, have their own rooms, but have always slept in the E’s bedroom. Every night since H moved out of a crib. These days they prefer to share the double bed on the bottom of E’s bunk beds. Morning light lit their sleeping faces…two blond angels snuggled under a teal and lime green shag iCarly comforter. “Wake up, girls!” I said, as I marveled for the thousandth time at their sisterly closeness.
“Errrr….” muttered one or the other….followed by, “Get your KNEE out of my BACK.”
“YOU get your ELBOW off my HAIR!”
Bliss shattered, I head to my four-year-old son’s room. “C, wake up, sleepy head!”
He sits up. “Where are my girls?”
Probably strangling each other, I think, but I keep that supposition to myself.
Once we’re in the car on the way to school, H and C are watching a Mickey Mouse video on my phone. C sniffs…a long, drawn out, watery little boy snort.
“EWWWWWW! Gross!” says H. “He’s snorting!”
“He has a runny nose,” I say. “I’m sorry…I think I’m out of tissues.” Damn summer cold.
Sniff, sniff…snargle snort snort…
“He’s doing it on PURPOSE!!!” wails H. She retracts the phone. C shrieks in rage, and snorts for good measure.
I intervene. “Let him see the video–and he has to snort…if not it will run down his face.”
“STOP SNORTING!!” Tears of indignation.
“I need to snort!” C yells back at her. “Let me snort!”
This litany follows me over the Ravenel Bridge, to the carpool line…wherein H brushes past C as she gets out of car…as if his boogery nose might attach to her gym uniform and follow her, snorfling all the way, into class.
A few relatively peaceful hours later I pick C up from school. “Where are my girls?” he asks.
We scoop them up and head home to make brownies. E is not in a sharing mood. She hogs the brownie mix, the eggs, the vegetable oil, the stirring spoons, the brownie pan, and 90% of the counter space. Finally I nix her from the process…which sends her retreating to the couch with her book and a bunch of unintelligible grumblings against her siblings, who each had the nerve to want to crack an egg. C and H finish the brownies, and spend several gloriously messy moments slurping brownie batter from spoons.
H gets a glimpse of Miss Huffy on the couch. She washes her spoon, dunks it in the batter…and presents the chocolate covered plastic lollipop to her sister.
Both girls eye me…I give E the nod. “Thanks,” she mutters, although I’m sure the effort is constricting her vocal chords.
Later all three head to the trampoline, and during that hour E defends C from the boy across the street, who is, “like, totally too rough with him.” H accidentally brains E with her elbow, causing E to inform her that she is, “the worst sister EVER.”
Five minutes later both girls are spinning hand in hand until they fall over…the sounds of their giggling is like a bunch of happy crickets on this early summer evening.
C informs E that he HATES HER because she is SO MEAN…and I never quite figure out why. C has an overtired meltdown, during which I explain that he has to go to sleep if he wants to go to the beach tomorrow…to which H instructs him, “Just listen to Mommy, C, and it will all be just fine, buddy.” Complete with much back patting and hair smoothing.
All three kids beg to sleep in the same bedroom, so E and H are on the bottom bunk…while C takes the top. I tuck everyone in, and get approximately five minutes of peace.
“MOMMMM-YYYY!! I NEED YOU!”
It’s a girl’s voice, but I’m not sure which one. “What’s up, buddies?” I call as I run up the steps. Maybe C fell out of the bed or something.
It’s E. She’s chapped. “C is like…humming. He’s doing it on PURPOSE.”
“C, stop humming.”
“Hmmm…hmmm…hummy hum hum.”
“See!” says E, somewhat gleefully. She’s totally validated.
“C, stop…or I’ll move you to your own room.”
“NOOOO!” C wails. “I want to sleep with my sisters!”
“Then shut up!” yells E.
“Shut up is not nice,” says H.
“You shut up, too!”
“Whoa!! Everyone…how about BE QUIET!” I say.
Several minutes of explanation about the value of sleep later (which I’m sure had no effect except to bore all three into tiredness), everyone is settled down. H pokes E, but for now it’s funny. C hums, but sort of quietly…and E puts the pillow over her head. Three in a bed…all is peaceful.
So when I review this day, a few points pop into my head. First, we’re never so honest as we are with our siblings during childhood. We have no filters, we say exactly what we mean and let the chips (or Legos, or Barbie shoes) fall where they may. We’re perfectly comfortable in the knowledge that the argument will pass…and we still love one another.
Somehow we grow up, and we lose that combination of brutal honesty and unconditional love. We stew, and pull back, and blow. We avoid and we read into things and we hold grudges. Eventually we forget how to let it all hang out, even with our brothers and sisters. Anyone who has a contentious adult relationship with a sibling knows this.
Remember when you could scream at your sister one minute and crack up the next? Remember when you knocked your brother upside the head and then held ice to his goose egg? It’s love/hate…but mostly love.
Now, I’m not saying that we adults should abandon diplomacy for interactions of a 9, 7 and 4-year-old. I do think, however, we can all learn a little bit about the nuances of love and forgiveness from my little buddies.